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A courtroom sketch of Terri-Lynne McClintic, right, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Victoria Stafford.

A decision made by the Supreme Court of Canada Thursday allows us to report some details of the April trial and conviction of Terri-Lynne McClintic for the murder of Victoria Stafford. This information was covered by a sweeping publication ban until now.

On a cool April afternoon in 2009, Terri-Lynne McClintic approached the first young girl she saw walking toward her from Oliver Stephens public school in Woodstock, Ont.. Striking up a conversation with an outgoing eight-year-old named Victoria Stafford, Ms. McClintic began chatting about Shih Tzu dogs.

Victoria said she would like to see Ms. McClintic's dog, as they walked together toward a nearby retirement-home parking lot.

A few hours later, after Ms. McClintic had purchased a hammer and garbage bags at a Home Depot in Guelph, 70 kilometres away, Victoria lay dead under a pile of rocks in a field north of that city. She was the victim of what police call "multiple blunt force impact."

Those are some of the details of the murder of Victoria "Tori" Stafford that were revealed on April 30, when Ms. McClintic pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in a Woodstock courtroom and was given the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. Kidnapping charges against her were dropped.

Until now, the information presented at the hearing - along with Ms. McClintic's plea and sentencing - was subject to a sweeping publication ban that prevented anyone from reporting it. Some of that detail is now public after the Supreme Court of Canada rejected an attempt by the lawyer of Ms. McClintic's co-accused, Michael Rafferty, to keep everything under wraps.

Mr. Rafferty's lawyer, Dirk Derstine, was concerned that publication of any material related to Ms. McClintic's case would prevent his client from getting a fair trial.

Under a ruling from Mr. Justice Dougald McDermid - issued in May but only now in effect - many details that emerged at Ms. McClintic's day in court will still not be made public until Mr. Rafferty's trial ends.

Mr. Rafferty has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and murder. His lawyers are trying to have his trial moved away from Woodstock.

Judge McDermid said some of the information contained in a statement of facts read out at Ms. McClintic's hearing is "sensational, inflammatory, and evokes a visceral response," and could hurt Mr. Rafferty's chances of a fair trial. But revealing other portions "does not present a real and substantial risk to the fairness of Mr. Rafferty's trial," the judge said.

Judge McDermid also said it was important for the public to know that Ms. McClintic made no plea bargain with the Crown, and that she got the mandatory penalty of a life sentence. "She could not and did not receive a reduced sentence in return for her plea," he said.

On April 30, in the high-ceilinged courtroom on the top floor of Woodstock's grandly Romanesque courthouse, Terri-Lynne McClintic sat quietly in a glassed-in prisoner's box, wearing a black suit and white blouse, her hair tied back in a bun.

The observers in the packed court room - Tori's parents, Rodney Stafford and Tara McDonald, other family and friends along with Woodstock residents and members of the press - were subdued. At the start the judge had warned the court that if there were any outbursts from the public, the perpetrator would be banned from the proceedings.

Ms. McClintic occasionally cried, and at one point a recess was called when she appeared to be sick to her stomach.

After pleading guilty and under questioning from the judge, Ms. McClintic said she had been made no promises in return for the plea, and that she had not been threatened or coerced.

Crown prosecutor Geoff Beasley then read an agreed statement of facts, only portions of which can be reported.

According to that statement, April 8, 2009, began as a unremarkable day for Ms. McClintic, as she collected food vouchers from a Woodstock church, bought groceries and signed in at a community employment centre.

The kidnapping of Tori took place after the afternoon dismissal from her school, on the first day she was to walk home alone to her mother's house. Ms. McClintic introduced herself to Tori as "T" and after their chat about dogs they walked off together.

They went to an address in Guelph, the released portion of the statement of facts says, then went north of Guelph. Ms. McClintic bought a hammer and garbage bags while in Guelph.

"In a remote location on a side road in the 6th Concession North of Arthur Township, Victoria Elizabeth Stafford was murdered and her body was concealed," the statement says.

Following the murder, the police received tips that Ms. McClintic might be the unidentified person in a surveillance video that showed Tori being led away from her school.

On April 12, Ms. McClintic was arrested using an outstanding warrant on another matter, but she was also questioned about Tori's abduction. After denying her involvement for several weeks, on May 19 she admitted she was the woman in the video and was charged with abduction and accessory to murder. The charge was upgraded the next day to first-degree murder.

Ms. McClintic helped the police search for Tori's body by car and helicopter, but the process took weeks. She described the scene of the murder, including "a broken-down fence, visible silos, an inclined laneway and creek and a rock pile close to pine or spruce trees where the body had been hidden," the statement of facts says.

Tori's body was finally recovered on July 19, when an OPP officer recognized Ms. McClintic's description of the area. "After getting out of his car, the officer immediately noted the odour of decomposition and approached a group of trees beside the rock pile," the statement said. "He was able to see a portion of a green garbage bag beneath some rocks under a pine tree. He had found Tori Stafford."

The body was identified using dental records and some pieces of clothing found with the body. Police also found a pair of butterfly earrings that Tori had retrieved from her classroom just before leaving for home on April 8.

After the statement of facts was read in court, but before Ms. McClintic's sentencing, there were several victim-impact statements, some in person and some by video.

To a still courtroom, where the silence was broken only by occasional sobs and sniffling from those in attendance, family members revealed their heart-wrenching agony at Tori's loss.

Her father talked of his daughter's innocence, the milestones in her life that will never be achieved, and how his family has been destroyed. Addressing Ms. McClintic directly, he said that he had felt hate toward her, but he had to "say thank you for stepping up and accepting responsibility for your actions" and helping to find Tori's remains.

Mr. Stafford also read a statement on behalf of his 11-year old son Daryn, who wrote that "it would take all the paper in the world to say how I felt and what I have lost . ... I would have given anything and still would give anything to get my baby sister back." .

Tori's mother told the court that she cries uncontrollably all the time, and that the emptiness she feels is overwhelming. "I miss her so much that many times, if I didn't have my son, I probably would have taken my own life."

Tori's grandmother, Doreen Graichen said by video that the family has "all become imprisoned for life. Our sentence will never end."

She said her life has narrowed, as people avoid talking to her because they don't know what to say. "My heart aches and sometimes I can't breathe," she said.

After the victim statements, the judge asked Ms. McClintic if she had anything to say.

In a rambling statement, she talked of wanting justice for Tori, and how she had to take responsibility for her actions.

She acknowledged that she was under the influence of drugs at the time of the killing and said that "there are things that I've experienced in the past that may have affected my reactions to the situation was in."

But that was no excuse, she added. "A million words will never be able to express how truly sorry I am."

Ms. McClintic said she was "honoured to have spent even a brief amount of time with Tori, "and it pains me to think about how many people won't get to see what a beautiful and brilliant woman I just know she would have grown up to be." She said she would give anything to trade places with "that amazing little girl, but I can't, and man, that hurts."

She said enough people have been hurt and she did not want to drag them trough a trial. "Spending the next few decades of life in prison is nothing compared to what Tori was robbed of."

After she spoke, Judge McDermid asked Ms. McClintic if she was firm in her decision to plead guilty. When she said she was, he noted the intense pain that has been inflicted on Tori's family. "No sentence can take that pain away, or bring Tori back."

Then the judged looked at her and said: "Terri-Lynne McClintic, I sentence you to imprisonment for life."